Tag Archives: judging

“He could have been a professor, a journalist, a lawyer…”

17 Sep

It’s amazing how your word choice tells so much about you. The simple way you speak can tell me where you’re from, how you were raised, and how you see the world. It also makes me judge you far quicker than I should.

So the phrase I titled this post came from a commercial for a podcast. (beat) Yeah, that’s weird, but talking about this murder victim, this man’s voice comes in saying, “He could have been a professor, a journalist, a lawyer…” That struck me as odd. Notice the word choice and the order. Professor is obviously the first thought on what our murder victim could have been – he was that smart, is the implication.

Okay – let’s take that phrase further. His next two choices are journalist, then lawyer. Gee… what do these three jobs have in common? They’re all liberal professions. For those who prefer the “exception disproves the rule,” let me say conservative professors go to conservative universities (Texas A&M for example), conservative journalists work for Fox News, and… okay, there are plenty of conservative lawyers. However, I’m instantly judging them.

Is that fair? No. This was a five second clip. He could have been talking about the victim’s personality, not his own. But can we help it? Based on our experience, we make quick decisions based on people, on situations, and honestly… we might get it right. Most of the time we don’t have the time or inclination to find out the full story.

This got me in trouble recently. Often when we speed through life we’re going to make a mistake. In the case of a commercial, prejudging is going to do nothing apart from turn me off from the podcast (which I wasn’t going to listen to anyway because I’m not a fan of true crime). In the case of my wife, I took an honest request for help as a demand, and that hurt.

Have you run into problems with judging things too quickly? Do you think that it’s necessary or unavoidable? Let me know in the comments below!

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